Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Tracy Meisenbach: Mister, you just lost a sale.

                                                          Mister, you just lost a sale.

          If you’re like me, even when your barn is full of horses you’re still looking at horse ads. I have no need to buy another one, but I’m still trolling craigslist, dream horse, equine now and all the facebook groups that offer horses for sale, trade or free, it’s an addiction, don’t judge me. Sometimes I return several times to one ad and think “hmmmmmm maybe just one more.” Thankfully common sense applies and no more hairy eating machines arrive at my door

        While browsing the various sites I am always amazed to see ads that clearly show the horse, and its owner, in a bad light. You’re trying to sell this animal, why are you making him look terrible? If people tried to sell cars the same way they try to sell horses it would be impossible to make a sale. The cars would be dirty, in the middle of an overgrown field, with wire inches from the tires, a nasty rope dragging from the bumper, and in all probability some form of half-naked human standing on top of the car to prove it was safe. This is not marketing! These things are huge warning signs that the horse is going to come with baggage. Bad first impressions have cost many a sale, and the sad thing is that they are so easy to avoid with just a little time, thought and effort. So here’s a list of things that automatically make me decide to not even think about contacting you to look at your horse.

In print:
1) If your ad has any words relating to horses that are misspelled such a philly, gilding, studded, breaded, or the breed name is wrong I’m not contacting you.

2) If the first thing you tout is Man O’War in your horse’s pedigree I’m already done. Unless the famous horse is the sire or dam, or at most the grandparent, I really don’t care.

3) If you cite a rare color, and then don’t really know how it was created. Hint: Line back bays are not rare. That’s countershading and it’s common. There is nothing remotely rare about black, any shade of chestnut, bay, dun, cremello or pretty much anything else found on American horses. Unless your horse is a purple and pink brindle with green eyes he’s not rare.

4) If your horse’s list of accomplishments ends with being friendly, he’s not worth my time. In fact, he’s a good candidate for the free ads.

5) If your horse has no other merit than a set of papers. I really don’t care who his ancestors are, if he’s not trained to do a job (with the exception of horses two and under) then he’s not worth anything to me.

6) Stallions that are not genetically tested and free of defects and that have never left the property. If he isn’t an excellent specimen and can’t perform then he doesn’t need to be reproducing. Color and pedigree are NOT reasons to breed a stallion. The same holds true for mares. When I ask about testing you need to have an educated answer, not “huh?”

In a photo:
1) Ribs. If your horse is ribby, with his spine standing up I’m not only not calling you, I’m calling the sheriff. Feed your horse before you try to sell it. If it gets in that condition give it to a good home before letting it starve while you wait to make money off of it.

2) If your horse is in a nasty cluttered area with wire fences and old cars, count me out. I’m not planning on dealing with old wire cuts, ingested shrapnel or embedded splinters. Your horse doesn’t have to stay in a pristine barn, but reasonable safety applies.

3) If there is a photo of you standing on the horse, it’s over. You’re already showing me you aren’t smart enough to practice reasonable safety and husbandry. Standing in the saddle proves that for that second your horse tolerated your stupidity. It doesn’t prove you’re a great trainer or horseman. It doesn’t prove your horse is always safe. The only thing is does prove is that you’re not a smart trainer.

4) If there are people in the ad with open toed shoes, especially children, I’m not even picking up the phone. There is no point trying to carry on a conversation with someone that has that little sense.

5) If the horse is dirty. Seriously, you’re trying to sell this animal, give him every shot at making a good impression. I can handle a little dust, but knee deep dried mud, tangled manes, burrs in the tail and bots on the legs are NOT working in your favor. I can buy a clean well cared for horse for the same price.

6) If your tack is broken, abusive, used incorrectly etc. Again, another sign that the horse is coming with baggage and you aren’t sensible enough to deal with.

7) Children with no helmets. Again, a sure sign that safety is not practiced and if you’re not going to care about your children’s safety then I’m sure your horse isn’t kept in a safe manner either.

It’s easy to sell a good, well trained, well bred horse. People are begging for them. Trying to sell a horse with any of the strikes above on it is going to be next to impossible. So don’t blame the market, look at what you are offering people and ask yourself if you would go look at a car or house or any item that is in the same condition and environment your horse is in. The same holds true for trainer ads. If you’ve got any of the above in your ad you’re going to get passed by, because you are showing that you are not educated, not safe, and not capable of handling horses or students. So give your horse, and yourself, the best chance at a good sale.

Tracy Meisenbach
Copyright December 2nd, 2013

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